Ticats’ QB Bo Levi Mitchell calls Simoni Lawrence an ‘amazing teammate,’ praises Hamilton’s team culture

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

Bo Levi Mitchell took part in his first full team practice as a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday and wasted no time praising the culture that surrounds his new team.

“I’ve only played Simoni (Lawrence) on the field but that man is an amazing teammate. Tim (White) is an amazing teammate. You hear the way these guys talk and the culture that’s been built here by [head coach Orlondo Steinauer] and all these coaches, this staff, this organization, it’s second to none. These guys love being here,” Mitchell told the media in Hamilton.

Mitchell has had regular phone calls with offensive coordinator Tommy Condell since he signed a three-year contract with the Ticats in January. His wife, Madison, noticed he referred to the club in the second person as if he were still on a different team. After participating in his first practice in Steeltown, Mitchell now feels comfortable calling himself a member of the organization.

“She’d hear me on the phone and she’s like, ‘You keep saying “y’all.”‘ I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’ She’s like, ‘It’s “we.” You’re on that team now, it’s “we.”‘ I was like, ‘I agree with you but I don’t feel like I’m allowed to say until I step on the field with the team,’ so it’s good to be here and we had a great day today.”

Mitchell made it clear that he’s only going to talk about the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as he’s turned the page from a decade-long run with the Calgary Stampeders. He is scheduled to play against his old team only once this year, a meeting in Week 17 that is slated for Tim Hortons Field on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The 33-year-old said he’s with the Ticats “for a reason” and isn’t afraid to help set and maintain the organization’s high standards. He’s one of many new players the club brought in during the off-season following a disappointing 8-10 campaign that included a first-round exit from the playoffs. It appears as though the culture will be a combination of old and new in Hamilton.

“For guys like me, Chris Edwards, James Butler, [Joel] Figueroa, all these new guys coming, it’s learning and talking to guys like [Lawrence and White] to understand this is the standard that’s been set here and this is how we talk to each other,” said Mitchell.

“This is a brand new team, there’s a lot of new faces, so we set the standard and that’s something that [Steinauer] keeps reiterating is there is a standard from the past but you guys have to come out here and set the standard and agree on what that’s going to be.”

The club’s head coach didn’t mince words when asked about Mitchell, who clearly expects the veteran passer to take on a strong leadership role with the franchise.

“Football means a lot to him,” said Steinauer. “He’s a competitor, he’s gonna hold people accountable, he wants to be held accountable.”

Mitchell could easily have chosen to walk away from the game after playing 10 seasons in Calgary. Instead, he’s put his legacy on the line with a Hamilton team that has regressed since putting together a record-setting 15-win season in 2019.

For all his past accolades, he still realizes he has everything to prove as a member of his new organization.

“The pressure that I put on myself is that I’ve done nothing yet for these men right here,” said Mitchell. “They’ve seen me play in the past, that’s a different person. I’ve gotta come out here and prove myself to these guys every single play. There’s no vet status, there’s no Grey Cup-winning status, nothing like that. We’ve all got something to prove out here.”